military books by servicemembers.



Weymouth D. Symmes

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Weymouth D. Symmes, USN, “was raised in Lewistown and Billings, Montana.  In 1966 he enlisted in the United States Navy.  During his service he spent two years aboard the USS Ticonderoga and one year on Swift boats in Vietnam.  Honorably discharged in 1970 he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation for Extraordinary Heroism, Two Navy Unit Commendations, The Republic of Vietnam meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross) and other awards.

He married Terry (Persson) in 1970.  He received a bachelor’s degree in 1973 and a master’s degree in 1975 in Political Science from the University of Montana.  After a career in commercial banking he retired from First Security Bank 1999. 

He was the treasurer for the Montana State Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial; was one of the founders and first treasurer of the Swift Boat Sailors Association (the fraternal organization for Swift Boat sailors); was one of the founders and the national treasurer for Swift Boat Veterans & POWs for Truth; and was on the board and the treasurer of the Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann Foundation. Weymouth is the author of two books: War on the Rivers A Swift Boat Sailor’s Chronicle of the Battle for the Mekong Delta and This is Latch The Story of Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann."


According to the book description of War on the Rivers: A Swift Boat Sailor's Chronicle of the Battle for the Mekong Delta, “This is a story about sailors, and one sailor in particular, asked to do extraordinary things and make great sacrifices during the Vietnam War.”

W. H McDonald of the American Authors Association said of War on the Rivers: A Swift Boat Sailor's Chronicle of the Battle for the Mekong Delta, I am writing this review while listening in the background to "The Doors" singing "This is the End". That song played in the movie "Apocalypse Now" and still sends shivers up my spine. Reading "War On The River: A Swift Boat Sailor's Chronicle of the Battle for the Mekong Delta" by Navy veteran and author Weymouth D. Symmes - also did that same thing. His book however, is much more than a tale of swift boats in action in Nam. It tells a coming-of-age story that captures the emotions and spirit of those young warriors. In particular, the young author himself, as we follow him from through boot camp and his four years in the Navy.

Some day people will realize that these "river boat cowboys" made life hell for the VC. They were part of what is called "The Brown Water Navy". They were sometimes our only military resource in the Mekong Delta besides air power operations. Someone had to go down those muddy rivers and patrol places that were as dangerous as any place on this planet! Truly a group of brave hearted men. Many were killed or wounded but all of them were heroes.”

Weymouth's memoir is not just about his river battles but also does a good job giving the reader an idea of what life was like for a sailor on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam. The book touches the personal lives of those men who lived in historic times, risking their lives for things many others would never support, or understand. It is well written and will engage the reader's fullest attention. This book does not try to glorify war, nor battle, but it comes across any way, as a strong tribute to these men. In the end, the reader will label them all as heroes! And truly they all were.

I have read many books over the last decade on swift boats and the river wars in Nam - however, this is best of the lot. If one had to read just one book on this genre, then this is the book they need to read. It is not some dry facts and numbers book told by someone with no connection to the events - this is from a real survivor of those times - and he has a personal and entertaining story to share. A great memoir and one that I personally recommend!”

This is Latch; The Story of Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann
Weymouth D. Symmes  More Info

War on the Rivers: A Swift Boat Sailor's Chronicle of the Battle for the Mekong Delta
Weymouth D. Symmes  More Info

According to the book description of This is Latch; The Story of Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann, “Roy F, Hoffman enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War II, was called back to serve when the Korean War broke out, and was aboard the USS Pirate (AM 275) when it struck a mine and sank in less than four minutes I Wonsan Harbor. In his long career Hoffman commanded four ships. In May of 1968 then Navy Captain Hoffman became the commander of Task Force 115 in Vietnam, leading his command in pursuit of the enemy on the coast and inland waterways of South Vietnam.


One reader of This is Latch; The Story of Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann said, “Admiral Roy Hoffmann is an exceptional man. He epitomizes to me the very finest attributes in Naval tradition that few have continually put in practice throughout their lives. I served under "Latch" in Vietnam for a short period of time. He was intense, straightforward and ferocious. I sincerely wish that more than a fraction of Officers of all Services had his honesty and integrity. The author knows his subject and conveys it well; I rarely put the book down in the several days it took me to read it. Strongly recommended to the student of Naval history particlarly into the insights on mine warfare in Korea and in Vietnam. Eye opener on the conduct of John Kerry in Vietnam. Also , a fine primer on how an outstanding Officer conducts himself as Commanding Officer of a warship.”

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